“Strangers” : Reflection 1

On Friday I sent out a message encouraging you to consider what happens in the book from multiple perspectives, to put you in the shoes of various characters, if you will. I also asked you to consider the privilege McIntyre gets as a straight, white man to feel free to walk across the country.

KL-FALL01-fish14On that note, I had an illuminating conversation with Melinda, my wife, earlier this week. Our younger daughter, Ella, is driving by herself to Canada on Thursday to visit a college. We live in Seattle and she’s driving north of Vancouver, what is a good 4 hour drive including time crossing the border. I had been thinking about asking Ella to stop at a couple of places along the way to call or text us. You know, to let us know she was progressing on the road. It never dawned on me that a rest area would be a bad place for a female traveling alone to stop.

Melinda guffawed as I reviewed this with her. She relayed how her sister, Ella’s aunt, had asked if Melinda had yet coached Ella about NOT stopping at rest stops. As I came to understand it, a rest stop is the *perfect* place for a predator to wait for an unsuspecting female to arrive. It’s off the road, it’s quiet, and for a good deal of the time there aren’t other people present. As a man, this is not something I really have to think about. That’s privilege.

So part of my reason for encouraging us to look at the scenes in the book from multiple perspectives is to broaden our awareness of privilege, and to consider kindness from this perspective. I think it’s a kind act to simply try to understand a situation from someone else’s point of view.

Regarding the action exercise, I believe that opportunities for kindness exist everywhere, perhaps in every moment, every second, of our lives. We just need some practice looking for them or allowing ourselves the patience it takes to let them surface. having been provided this prompt, did you notice anything new?

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